Send to

Choose Destination
Vet Pathol. 2014 Mar;51(2):328-40. doi: 10.1177/0300985813511131. Epub 2013 Dec 6.

Horizontally transferred genetic elements and their role in pathogenesis of bacterial disease.

Author information

Department of Pathobiology, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Email:


This article reviews the roles that laterally transferred genes (LTG) play in the virulence of bacterial pathogens. The features of LTG that allow them to be recognized in bacterial genomes are described, and the mechanisms by which LTG are transferred between and within bacteria are reviewed. Genes on plasmids, integrative and conjugative elements, prophages, and pathogenicity islands are highlighted. Virulence genes that are frequently laterally transferred include genes for bacterial adherence to host cells, type 3 secretion systems, toxins, iron acquisition, and antimicrobial resistance. The specific roles of LTG in pathogenesis are illustrated by specific reference to Escherichia coli, Salmonella, pyogenic streptococci, and Clostridium perfringens.


pathogenicity islands; plasmids; type 3 secretion; virulence genes

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center